Japanese encephalitis vaccine
Japanese Encephalitis is an unusual but life-threatening viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. The virus belongs to the flavivirus family and is spread by mosquitoes of the species culex. The mosquitoes bite, especially at dusk and at night. The disease causes meningitis and as the name suggests, it is most common in Asia. The risk of infection is greatest in rural areas and in areas where pigs are raised because they are intermediate hosts for the disease, just as humans are. However, the disease is not transmitted directly from person to person. The mosquitoes also thrive in larger water-covered areas, such as rice fields. The incubation period, ie the time from infection to disease, is about 3-7 days. In addition to vaccination, mosquito repellent and mosquito nets reduce the risk of infection. Fan or air conditioning can also reduce the risk as well as wearing long sleeves and long pants in the evening.
Japanese Encephalitis Symptoms
The symptoms of Japanese encephalitis include headache, high fever, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes the infected gets cramps, paralysis or suffers from unconsciousness.
Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
Vaccination is recommended if you are traveling to Asia for a long period of time, 3-4 weeks or longer, or if you are staying in the countryside in areas with many cases of disease.
The vaccine is given in two doses before departure and there should normally be 4 weeks between doses, although a quick schedule is sometimes applied for healthy adults. After dose two, it should preferably be one week before departure to risk areas.
The vaccine can be given from 2 months of age and children between 2 months and 2 years receive half a dose of vaccine. Elderly people are advised to take an extra dose about two months after the second dose to obtain good protection against the disease.
A third refill dose 1-2 years after the second dose provides approximately ten years of protection against the disease.
Treatment of Japanese Encephalitis
As the disease is caused by a virus, there is no cure but the focus is on relieving symptoms.